Museums aren’t waiting for your shoeboxes anymore

Author: Alex Grace, Communications and Relationships Manager

Each month Courtney chats to Kathryn Ryan on her show Nine to Noon on RNZ.

In this blog we’ve rounded up the projects Courtney and Kathryn discussed so that you can delve deeper and explore the issues and projects mentioned.

Rapid response collecting

“Instead of waiting for people to come along with shoeboxes full of their grandmothers suffrage publications, museums are going out into the community and collecting ephemera right now.” – Courtney Johnston

Courtney and Kathryn discussed how museums respond to and document the “right now” and what impacts these acquisitions policies have for how we create today’s history.


How the National Museum is capturing ‘instant history’ of abortion referendum – The Irish Times

Posters, Banners, Boarding Passes: Museums Try to Get a Head Start on History – New York Times

Design and Public Life: Rapid Response Collecting – Victoria & Albert Museum

Are We There Yet? – Auckland Museum

Women's rights and human rights, 21 January 2017. Photographed by Emily Lear.

Women's rights and human rights, 21 January 2017. Photographed by Emily Lear.

125 years of suffrage

There’s plenty to get out and experience as we celebrate 125 years of women’s suffrage in Aotearoa New Zealand. Below is Courtney’s selection of events and exhibitions to get involved with this month.

We Do This – Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū
As Aotearoa New Zealand marks 125 years of women’s suffrage, Christchurch Art Gallery have recharged their contemporary collection spaces with a high-voltage new hang. Some works resonate with challenge, like Allie Eagle’s defiant 1974 self-portrait – made after spending a long day hanging paintings by her male peers – or Robyn Kahukiwa’s foot-stomping women’s haka, Tena I Ruia (1988). Others claim space more obliquely, with ambition, insight and self-deprecating humour. Spanning four decades, the new line-up highlights major pieces by such celebrated artists as Vivian Lynn, Julia Morison and Louise Henderson, and also introduces several recent acquisitions, including works by Areta Wilkinson, Francis Upritchard and Saskia Leek.

No Common Ground - Sat 7 July @ Victoria University of Wellington
No Common Ground is a one day symposium addressing recent art and curatorial practices that have engaged histories of feminist art, mana wahine and queer practice.

Margins & Satellites – Enjoy Public Art Gallery
Margins & Satellites continues artist and designer Ella Sutherland’s ongoing enquiry into the relationship between printed matter, typography and social histories, focussing on what Sutherland describes as “a queering of mechanical reproduction.”

Lesbian and Gay Archives of New Zealand  
The Archive collects, preserves and makes available records of historical and cultural interest. It aims to reflect the diversity of the New Zealand lesbian, gay and takatāpui communities.

The earth looks upon us / Ko Papatūānuku te matua o te tangata – Adam Art Gallery
This latest exhibition featuring new and existing work by four Māori women artists—Ngahuia Harrison, Ana Iti, Nova Paul, and Raukura Turei—who explore their relation to and cultural connection with whenua/earth/place. Curated by Christina Barton, the exhibition has been scheduled as the Adam Art Gallery’s contribution to the Suffrage 125 celebrations. We acknowledge that, 125 years ago, Māori women fought and won the right to not only vote for members of the New Zealand House of Representatives, but also to vote and stand as members of the Maori Parliament, Te Kotahitanga.

Embodied Knowledge – The Dowse Art Gallery
Embodied Knowledge is a new exhibition presenting significant sculptural works made by women artists during a tumultuous period of Aotearoa New Zealand’s art history. The artists challenged and dissected many aspects of the dominant culture they worked within, from the way language shapes our understanding of the world to environmental concerns.




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